There were no questions for The Mechanic
this issue, but with the weather tuning cold
and some members continuing to use their
campervan through the seasons, that means
heating. There are gas heaters on the market
and these are becoming more affordable. Gas
is also used for cooking in many campervans,
so it’s time to talk gas safety!
Types of Gas
Let’s start by looking at the different types of gas
available in the UK and beyond.
All European countries have their
own gas bottle suppliers and each
of these have their own regulators
and adaptors. Campingaz is
available all through Europe in
small bottles which is great for
quick trips or for solo travellers. We (Editors) use
campingaz 907 bottles as they’re fairly readily
available in the UK and abroad and they fit nicely
in the cupboard under our storage trunk!
LPG (or Liquid Petroleum Gas) is the most
common kind used in campervans and motor
homes and it comes in two types; Propane
and Butane. Without going into the differences
between them in chemical structure, here are the
Usually used in vehicles where multiple
appliances will be running off it.
Ideal for cold climates as it operates down
It’s much lighter and less dense than Butane.
Operates more efficiently than Propane.
It’s denser than propane, so a bottle of the
same size will hold more gas.
Butane can’t be used at temperatures below
0°C (It cools down to a liquid state).
Different appliances may need one or the other of
the main LPGs to operate effectively, so it’s always
worth checking that before you buy.
Gas Safety Rules
The standard that applies to campervans is
BS EN 1949: 2001 + A1:2013. If you ever want
more information, it is worth looking that up.
There isn’t the same level of regulations
for fitting gas and gas appliances to motor
homes and campervans as there is to houses,
but would still recommend that anyone
installing an appliance is registered.
If you’re installing gas appliances into
your campervan, the British Standard isn’t
mandatory, unless you’re going to be hiring
that vehicle out.
If you are going to be hiring, ensuring that
everything is compliant with the law is down
to you, just as it would be if you owned a
house or flat that you were renting out.
You’re allowed to undertake work yourself
if you’re not a registered gas engineer, as
long as you’re competent. (The definition
of competence is vague, but you’ve got
to ask yourself whether you’d be happy
to undertake the work and have the
responsibility on your shoulders).
There’s a lot that could potentially go wrong,
and the stakes are certainly
high, so it may well
be worth getting a
to fit it.
Registered gas engineers can charge
anywhere between £30 and £100 an hour,
but it’s worth looking around in your area if
and when you need one.
Top Tips for Gas Safety
Ensure the gas is turned off before you travel.
If you’re using your vehicle for work purposes
and carrying compressed gas, you must show
a sticker to alert people.
If you’re not using your vehicle for work, but
still carry compressed gas, it is advised to have
a warning sticker displayed whilst carrying
Unless your campervan or motor home has
a rotating rooftop device, you’re limited to
carrying two 10 litre bottles of gas in the UK.
All flammable gasses must be carried upright
at all times.
Make sure you’ve got a Carbon Monoxide
alarm. They might not be stylish, but they’re
Note that LPG gasses are heavier than air, so
will form a ‘puddle’ on the ground in the event
of a leak.
Floor vents must be kept clear.
If parked up in snow/mud/etc then ensure
that the vents aren’t blocked.
Changing the bottle is the most dangerous
time, always make sure that you know how to
remove and fit the regulator and keep
well away from naked flames when
changing the bottle.
Don’t use a naked flame to look for a leak
(sounds obvious!) and check for pipe leaks by
using water and washing up liquid solution,
bubbles will appear at a leak.
Make sure you have a fire blanket and/or fire
extinguisher, as well as a fire alarm.
If you’ve got an older VW it is recommended
to carry an extinguisher any way, in case of a
dreaded engine fire. Can you really have too
many extinguishers in an old VW?
The rules and tips for gas safety aren’t
complicated and if you keep to them, the use of
gas in your campervan is perfectly safe and an